Sophomore tight end Asa Watson was pressed into a role last year as a rookie as the third tight end when Mario Carter tore his ACL during preseason camp.
Watson played sparingly, catching just one pass for six yards, but he still valued the experience.
"I learned that college football is a lot faster," Watson said. "It's a big difference from high school. It's full speed every play, and I guess just listen to my coaches. They know a lot more than I do, and they have my best intentions."
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Watson also has the best intentions for NC State.
"I want to do the best for NC State," Watson said. "It's not really about me. I only got four years here. It's more of an investment for the years to come. I want to make NC State the best it can be."
To become the best tight end he can be for NC State, Watson knows that he needs to have a firmer understanding of the offense and get stronger on his 6-foot-3 frame. The former is coming easier than the latter.
"I feel a lot more comfortable," Watson said. "I don't have to think about the plays as much, I can just react, so it's a lot better for me."
As for the weight, Watson said he is at 220 pounds now, just five pounds above what he was when he arrived at NC State.
"It's a work in progress," Watson admits. "It's a real struggle for me. I've always had problems with my weight. I am about 220 right now. Hopefully I can get to 230 by the start of the season.
"I've tried everything. I've tried eating everything, protein, creatine, nothing seems to work. I just have to rely on God and it'll come."
Watson's older brother Benjamin is a NFL tight end. He recently signed a contract to join the Cleveland Browns, ending his stint for the New England Patriots.
"I talked to him [Wednesday]," Watson said. "He's liking it up there. It's a big change. He says he is getting used to the colors. It's different colors everywhere. He says he is going to try to get No. 82, so I hope that works out and we can keep it in the family."
The younger Watson admits that sometimes the pressure of being the little brother of an NFL player can be touchy, but he the benefits are also great.
"We have a great relationship," Watson said. "He gives me a lot of great advice, and he's a pro tight end so it's always helpful."